|Read on June 5, 2013|
Published: February 19, 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (Harper)
Page Count: 532 pages
On April 21, 2008, Steven "Crash" Crashinsky saved more than a thousand people when he stopped his classmate David Burnett from taking their high school hostage armed with assault weapons and high-powered explosives. You likely already know what came after for Crash: the nationwide notoriety, the college recruitment, and, of course, the book deal. What you might not know is what came before: a story of two teens whose lives have been inextricably linked since grade school, who were destined, some say, to meet that day in the teachers' lounge of Meadows High. And what you definitely don't know are the words that Burn whispered to Crash right as the siege was ending, a secret that Crash has never revealed.
Michael Hassan's shattering novel is a tale of first love and first hate, the story of two high school seniors and the morning that changed their lives forever. It's a portrait of the modern American teenage male, in all his brash, disillusioned, oversexed, schizophrenic, drunk, nihilistic, hopeful, ADHD-diagnosed glory. And it's a powerful meditation on how normal it is to be screwed up, and how screwed up it is to be normal.
Crash and Burn is a dark, complex, and hauntingly chilling read that either had me completely invested into the story and in love with the book or had me drifting off and not connecting to the plot. I have to say, I was disappointed by this book I had been anticipating for such a long time.
Like I said, I was so excited for Crash and Burn - it sounded so amazing and fantastic. But if I'm being honest, this book was just okay for me. Maybe I set my expectations too high? Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for dark and heavy realistic fiction? Who knows? I just know that it wasn't as good as I hoped it would be. While the beginning was very intriguing, the middle lacked plot and character development. That's probably my biggest problem with Crash and Burn: the characters seemed like awful people. I thought Steven (A.K.A. Crash) would be a nice, heroic character that would save the day. While he was heroic, he was too much of a troublemaker and awful-type of person for me to ever liked. And David (A.K.A . Burn) was just as bad as Crash. Maybe even worse. He was too dark, and I just didn't like that.
I'll transfer over to what I did like the absolute most about Crash and Burn: the beginning, and the last 60 pages. The beginning was so intriguing and fascinating - I couldn't get enough of it! Around the 150 page-mark is when I stopped connecting to the story. But the first 150 pages were superb, and the final 60 were even better. They were high-tensed, electric, and on-the-edge-of-your-seat worthy pages, and I absolutely loved them.
I'm starting to come around to contemporary, but this is my first "heavy and dark" contemporary novel... and I have to say, I was let down by it! I guess it's just where I was looking forward to this book so much. It was good, but not as good as I hoped it would be.
Overall, Crash and Burn was a let down. Dark, richly built, and unfortunately, disappointing, Crash and Burn is one of a kind, but also not one of my favorites.
M Y R A T I N G